Deceive. To mislead purposely.
In 2012, a 16 year old woman was assaulted near the Broadview/Danforth intersection. This horrible incident began when the survivor approached a man with his head down. As she approached he asked her for “a light” for his cigarette. When she go close he grabbed her, threatened her with a knife, then dragged her to a more secluded area.
Another incident that month saw a man pose as a salesperson and force his way into a home then assaulting two women.
In both cases, the attackers devised a deception to get closer to the victim.
There are, unfortunately, many ways assailants will try to mislead you to lure you closer. Here are 5 general examples:
- Asking a Favour: He asks for “a light”, some change, for you to hang on to or hold something, to borrow your phone…. Besides getting closer you are distracted by your task …an opportune time to strike. Be especially careful if you are alone in an isolated area.
- Asking For Information: What time is it? How do I get to Yonge and ?, If you give information give it from a distance.
- The Imposter: Recently, in Toronto, a man posed as a salesman and forced his way into a home, assaulting two women(see above).
- The Crisis: Years ago, a student told me a man approached her in a parking lot saying he locked the keys in his car and asking her, since she was smaller, to reach through the partially opened window to unlock the door. As they approached his car she saw the windows were closed. She fled and reported the incident. If there is a “crisis” call the police, mall security, etc… from a safe place.
- The Small/Isolated Space: If you don’t feel comfortable walking into, or staying in an elevator, please leave. A former co-worker reported a man following her into a Tim Horton’s bathroom. Vacant parking lots. Be aware of body language and ask for an escort (e.g. security guard).
We don’t like to be cynical. Helping people and random conversations can be extremely enriching. The key is to be aware of the context. Are you isolated? What is your intuition saying?
Be cautious. Be aware.